To Help or not to help...

Discussion in 'Campground Etiquette' started by stud muffin, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I admit, I'm not one to ask for or accept help from strangers. I have learned that my preferences, likes and wants are different than most people. I prefer to do my own research. And I prefer to be in control of my stuff and actions. If I do need help, I prefer to choose who I ask rather than have strangers approach me.
     
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  2. Muller 5

    Muller 5 Active Member

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    I base my whole backing-into-campsites plan on macho men coming to help the poor defenseless and direction less girl. It worked tonight. Camp Dad even had a drill to fix our falling roof.
     
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  3. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    After reading thru the posts I think most of us like to sit and watch folks pull in and setup and make mental comments on what we observe! We have seen some really strange things over the years and sometimes your like "OMG, what the heck are those folks trying to do?" :shocked:[LOL]

    Sometimes we see folks who are making a campfire and the wood they purchased is just a bit to green. Usually when we leave and see someone with that issue we gladly will tell them to take the leftover wood we brought with us. Usually we just don't want to pack it up again! But they are grateful to have good seasoned wood.
     
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  4. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    We tend to socialize as much as people are open to it. We like to say hello, and enjoy the moment with neighbors if possible. Sometimes we bring over breakfast or coffee to ill prepared campers who are cold and hungry, shivering over a campfire because they didn't plan well. We just like to share the joy of a warm coffee in the morning when some poor soul is suffering and having a hard time waking up. Then the happiness spreads to the family and it gives us joy to see them happy. Of course you have to look at the people and have wisdom about if they would they like it and how to deliver the message with a cheerful positive heart. If you come over with a crabby, negative, or proud attitude, that will never work. But people who are ready for it in the moment do appreciate people to lift up their spirits and lovingly, and cheerfully meet a simple need they are feeling. It's a joy to do for people. Makes the neighborly relations and stay more enjoyable.
     
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  5. Rainbow Lever

    Rainbow Lever New Member

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    My sister brought her new 29 foot TT up for a visit and we headed to a state park in MI. Compared to her previous campsites, the area to back in was much narrower. She was struggling. A gentleman from a nearby site came down and asked her if she wanted help. She thanked him and told him, "I need to learn to do this myself." I appreciated that he asked, but also that he agreed with her and backed off immediately. I kept reminding her that everyone in the campground that may have been watching (and honestly, most of them were going about their own business) has had to learn this skill themselves. They're not thinking, "Oh, she's totally screwing that up..." but "Oh, I remember those days..." Please tell me I didn't lie to her. :)
     
  6. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

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    My first-ever time backing into a campsite was uphill and I couldn’t see the parking pad. A gentleman approached with an offer to guide me in. I’m known to be pretty independent, but I actually suggest that he back it in for me!
    I’ve come a long way since then! I now have a system that works for me. I carry 6 chocks. I place 4 on the site to mark the 4 corners where my trailer will be parked. I place the other 2 closer to the road—and in line with the others—to form a ‘runway’.

    Like most, I amconscious of others watching. At a 1-night layover to a rally, I was backing in and was aware of at least 10 people watching. I had foolishly decided that I would just back in without setting up my ‘runway’. No one offered to assist, but I heard one person say ‘she’s going to hit that tree’. I didn’t, but I was within 8” of the tree and my power post. If they hadn’t been watching, I likely would have moved over a bit. A number of people—in what was now a crowd—were obviously disappointed as they lowered their phones. Yep! I could have been one if the ‘parking disasters’ posted on YouTube.

    Another time, I had just started to back in, when 3 men came over and one of them reached his hand into my car, grabbed my steering wheel, and started to tell me which way to turn the wheel. I replied that I knew how to do it, but just needed to go slow. I later approached this man to say that I hope I hadn’t offended him, and explained that it was the first time backing in with my new trailer. They invited me to join them at their campfire. One of the wives said that when her husband returned to their RV, she asked him ‘Was it a woman?’. He just dropped his head.

    Thanks to the Portal, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to camp with several eastern US families many times over the past 3 years. They are my US camping family. One year (prior to my ‘chock runway’ system), we were given a ‘score’ for parking, I was actually given a handicap point since the friend who was helping me back in was no help at all. And over the years, more than one person has made a ‘hot lap’ in order to make a new approach to their site.
    Like all families, we often poke fun at one another, and the memories of our parking ‘challenges’ will continue to provide us with much laughter around the campfire in the years to come!
    Now I usually look forward to the challenge of backing in and can laugh at myself when/if I don’t get it right the first time.
     
  7. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think you lied. After all, that’s true for almost all. We can’t account for the small number of mean-spirited people who approach all aspects of life with negativity.
     
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  8. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    Sometimes I forget how to back in after 9 months of winter! Have to learn it all over again.

    I always tell my kids, with parallel parking, its all about lining up the rear axle into the right position.
    In the case of backing a trailer, its also about lining up the rear axle into the right position, so it pushes the camper axle where you want it to go. There are 3 axles to think about.
    • Tow vehicle Front Axle that has steering
    • Tow vehicle rear axle that moves in reverse, and
    • Trailer axle attached to a tongue (like a wagon with a handle being pushed backwards).
    There's a reason it takes time to figure that all out, and then I even forget how I did it last year in the Spring sometimes.
     
  9. CampingFamily1

    CampingFamily1 Active Member

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    Great story!
     
  10. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    I am more open to someone who asks if I'd like help rather than simply jumping in and "helping". I have had the latter several times and they actually make things a lot more difficult. Once, while backing my old TT into my driveway, a man jumped out of his car and started directing me. What he didn't understand was that I needed to keep the trailer as far to the fence side as possible so I could open the door. We kept directing me to the middle of the driveway.

    Another time, which I've mentioned, the guy stood exactly where I wanted to put the trailer and directed me to put it somewhere else. Made things much more difficult than it needed to be.

    As a solo camper, I need to be able to back up and park without help. After a while of bot using the trailer, it may take me a bit longer to get it where I want it, but I'll get it.
     
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  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    As for people watching, I see it like dancing. I'm not a great dancer - I have no balance and no rhythm. It took me a long time to stop feeling awkward and just enjoy myself - realizing no one else cared.

    Then at a holiday work party, a co-worker made the comment "nice dancing" to me. He was being an @$$ and it looked much worse on him than my lack of dancing ability did on me.
     
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  12. sleach

    sleach A short run will get you within walking distance.

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    My observations are that backing in is the activity that most invites spectators and advisors. Even though I have been backing various types of trailers since my teen years, I must admit that at the start of each camping season I take some cardboard boxes to a large school parking lot and make a few practice runs.
     
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  13. silvermickey2002

    silvermickey2002 Morris County, NJ

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    Ok, so it's not me feeling like I'm rusty backing up at the beginning of each season!!!! Glad others feel the same [A]
     
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  14. Strawhouse

    Strawhouse Well-Known Member

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    I must admit that I like to watch people back in, especially if they’re really good at it. I’ve been known to applaud when it’s done well.
    Perhaps it’s because I shared my dad’s love of watching someone who is a pro at working heavy equipment.
     
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  15. daveo1289

    daveo1289 Active Member

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    Your approach was not out of line. You offered help and they declined. You left it at that. Nice job. I have been in both positions and know that I both know a lot about camping and still have a lot to learn.
     
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  16. Rik Peery

    Rik Peery Well-Known Member

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    Good post... I'll ask if it looks like they might need help, not a prob if they say no...several years ago we were camping & had an elderly lady pull in the site next to us in a van & parked & sat down at the picnic table; we waved/said howdy,& about an hour later she started pulling stuff out of the van. We were heading out & asked if she needed help, she said no thanks, she didn't want to ruin our time off, I said no problem we didn't mind, so she said OK...she had more crap in that van, picture a carton of fried rice, you wonder how the hay they pack that much in a small space...2 hrs later I was pouring sweat & cursing the day of my birth lol, we'd get something put together & put up, then she wanted it moved around, several times more than once...but she was having her grandkids up that lived nearby, none of 'em had ever been camping, so she bought all this stuff & had them for the week so they'd experience the outdoors...it was worth it, great family, & to see 'em all giggling & having fun made it all good...
     
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  17. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member

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    Watching people back in and set up camp is akin to being at a boat ramp and watching loading and unloading. Better ramp watching in the afternoon when alcohol has been added. Good thing about the ramp is they eventually leave and another act starts.
     
  18. BigAl

    BigAl Member

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    Back when my wife & I were younger and didn't mind sleeping on the ground, we always enjoyed watching our camping neighbors try to back in and level out their motorhomes and trailers - cheap entertainment! And we laughed at how much effort and anger that process took - they should just get a tent!

    We bought our PUP this spring. Guess I can't laugh as much anymore...
     
  19. indieiggy

    indieiggy Member

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    Wow, that would not have gone over well if some guy did that to me! I would've been tempted to break his fingers (I swear I'm not a violent/angry person, just don't tolerate people in my personal space uninvited). I don't think you owed him any type of apology or "hope I didn't offend you" but the other way around! :confused:
     
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  20. CarlaCB

    CarlaCB Member

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    I'm a newbie camper owner and I've found backing up (including backing up to the trailer to hitch it up) to be a big challenge. Last week I had the pop up in my driveway at an awkward angle and it must have taken me an hour and 2 dozen tries to get the ball under the hitch. One friendly neighbor stopped on his way out and asked me if I needed help. I said "No, I'm practicing." I was still practicing when he returned home and this time he got out of his car and started becoming very pushy, offering his advice and instructions over my objections that I didn't want them. He finally walked away in a huff and got back in his car. Yes, I was frustrated with my lack of progress, but my objective was to figure it out myself, not to have someone help me.

    An hour later, at the campsite, I had so much trouble backing into the skinny site that a neighbor noticed and offered to do it for me. I accepted gladly. At that point, I needed to stop practicing and get set up for the night.

    I am getting better every time I try. Yesterday I backed up to my camper in my driveway at an even more difficult angle and got it hitched after a few quick tries. And actually backed into my own spot in the RV lot after only a few quick tries. Probably I'll always accept help at a campground if I need it because the objective there is to get camping, not practice my parking. But in my driveway or at the RV lot, I want to take my time and practice undisturbed.

    So yes. Offer help. If it's rebuffed, don't be offended. Everybody needs to learn in their own way.
     

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